A U.S. program will trace specific fish products from international harvest to entry into the U.S.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries will administer the Seafood Import Monitoring Program to further curb Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices and to identify misrepresented seafood imports before they enter the U.S. market.
The program requires that importers report information and maintain records about the harvest, landing and chain of custody of imported fish and fish products for certain priority species identified as especially vulnerable to IUU fishing and seafood fraud. The program will eventually expand to include all species.
Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA administrator, said, “We designed this program to further ensure that imported seafood is legally harvested and truthfully represented, with minimal burden to our partners.”
Added Catherine Novelli, under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment at the U.S. Department of State, “This rule is a critical step forward in combating IUU and seafood fraud. It sends an important message to the international seafood community that if you are open and transparent about the seafood you catch and sell across the supply chain, then the U.S. markets are open for your business. The rule will build on similar global efforts and will provide confidence to our consumers in the seafood they eat while also leveling the playing field for honest fishers across the globe who play by the rules.”
The U.S. will use the existing International Trade Data System to collect seafood catch and landing documentation for the priority seafood species. This data system is the U.S. government’s data portal for all imports and exports. Information collected through this program is confidential and will not be available to consumers.
Jan. 1, 2018, is the mandatory compliance date for most priority species listed in the rule. Due to gaps in availability of information regarding U.S. farmed shrimp and abalone, implementation for these species will be effective at a later date.